Review: Devil May Cry 4
Peoww’s right arm begins to glow ominously.
This review has been particularly difficult for me. As I played the game, quite frequently my mind drifted off to the land of Conan (go read the review if you haven’t already). Conan was trash but it ticked all the boxes required so that one may have a good time (aside from irritating QTE’s and Bosses). It was great. In retrospect I should have given it a slightly higher score.
With Devil May Cry 4 I do feel that I have to be harsher due to the higher production values it most definitely had and that quite frankly Capcom should have learned from some of the mistakes they’ve made in the past (I’m looking at you DMC2 â€“ more on this later). This is the series where the aim of the game is to look as stylish as â€œsome actorâ€ in â€œsome obscure indie film that probably not many have seenâ€.
Yeah I’m pretty sure this is the easiest DMC game yet â€“ either that or I now have mad 5ki11Z (is that correct?). But don’t get pissy with me ladies, I always play on the default difficulty first and in a DMC game that is usually enough to get my arse handed to me many times over. If you’re not satisfied with the two starting difficulties there’s three waiting for you after that. Choose your poison and go nuts tearing demons some newâ€¦ I want to say arseholes but who knows if they have them. Have fun while you do this, just don’t expect me to complete the game five times on increasing difficulties to get all the goodies (achievements).
However, if you play through first time using the automatic mode then you’re nothing but a dirty rotten cheater. With this mode on you just have to twat the appropriate attack button and the computer will pull off fancy combos for you. Your style rating goes up, enemies are defeated quicker, you get more points to buy more abilities etc etc etc. Essentially you get to look shit hot, reap the benefits but not by using any mad 5ki11Z (I’ll stop now). I understand why it has been includedâ€¦ but the game isn’t exactly difficult as it stands.
So, you start off this game as platinum haired pretty boy Nero who (long story short) has to track down a stranger in red (who we know as Dante) ‘cos it looks like he murdered some dude in cold blood. While there’s some interesting back story in previous games, this game doesn’t really contribute at all with any major story worth events (much like DMC2 also).
Nero plays well enough but my biggest bitch is his lack of variety. He has his sword, gun and arm – no new weapons to obtain, just some shitty abilities which allow him to proceed to new areas. You get used to this until halfway though the game when you take control of Dante, and at this point you have a wealth of choice in your fighting – perhaps too much. Not only do you start off with four different combat styles that can be upgraded (these boil down to using guns/speed/swords/blocks) but you get weapons from bosses as you progress.
By the end of the game you have three ‘swords’ and three ‘guns’. I use the inverted commas because some of these weapons are weird and wonderful (see the guitar in DMC3) but all are fun to use. These are made even more enjoyable with the fact that Dante can switch between his different swords or guns at any time with the touch of a button, making for some cool to see and fun to pull off combos. There’s plenty of choice for you to tinker with and come up with your own fighting style.
The only problem with playing as Dante is that from when you control him you’re essentially starting at the level Nero ended with and going backwards. I can’t believe I’m actually complaining about this, but here it just seems so damn cheap/lazy in the way that DMC2 threw in an extra character for you to play as, and they just played all the same levels again but starting at the end of the level and ending at the start.
Purchasing new attacks/abilities is the name of the game. In previous games these were bought with red orbs obtained by killing dudes, being stylish in your kills and smashing random objects. Why they decided to change this must only be to piss me off. Now, you still get red orbs like how I said but now they can only be used to buy items (something I rarely needed). You now need souls to upgrade your abilities.You get a number of Souls at the end of a mission depending on your overall mission ranking (time, style, orbs collected all being a factor). One good thing is that once you buy abilities with these souls, you can un-equip them and get a refund if the moves don’t tickle your fancy (I still like the old way best).
Unlike our man Colin my previous experience of playing DMC is a quick go with the original that ended abruptly with the first boss who kicked my arse with such a lack of remorse that when the game offered to switch me to easy mode I found myself reaching for the PS2’s eject button. Thankfully Capcom have turned down the difficulty knob compared to previous games which is fine and dandy for noobies like me but no doubt will incense fans of Dante’s previous adventures used as they are to an almost 8-bit style difficulty curve.
Judging this game by its own merits rather than as a sequel it comes of well. The graphics are nice and shiny with a good line in bloom lighting and gothic architecture mixed with equal parts grunge industrial and manga fantasy. Speaking of manga watching the (many) cut scenes and cinematics gives the impression that Capcom want to make a manga all most as much as Hideo Kojima wants to make a action film with every character flying through the air spouting ‘dramatic’ dialogue whilst looking ‘cool’ and almost flashing crotch enough to get teenagers watching them with one hand off the pad.
The plot is convoluted and inadequately explained as you spend the majority of the game repeating the same ‘find key A for door B’ gameplay dressed up to be all varieties of switches, drawbridges and teleporters. Played in small doses it can be a fun and raucous adventure but both the repetition in gameplay and overall shortness of the story will leave you unsatisfied if you cane it over a weekend only to find you’ve seen all there is to see.
Secondary Score: 7/10
I genuinely love many of the boss battles in this game. Some of them can just be so fun to play (that’s why I wasn’t too bummed when, near the end you have to fight many of the ones you’ve already defeated â€“ a tactic I haven’t seen sinceâ€¦ I dunno). The good ones aren’t too drawn out, aren’t unfairly difficult, but do demand reflex and skill.
The level types aren’t really anything surprising and the game has probably looked the brightest it ever has â€“ not really a good thing. There were times in the jungle (for which they give a pretty lame reason for there being one) that the brightness did actually offend my retinas. Unusual when you consider the Gaudi inspired architecture and mood of the original game.
The levels are all pretty large and, in true DMC fashion, secrets can be found â€“ in the form of secret missions (easy to find, arsey to complete) and the usual hidden stashes of orbs and items. To aid you in your quest for the secrets Nero gets a glowing arm ability (seriously) that alerts you when you are near to something secret. Useful eh? No its not. Your arm starts â€œringingâ€ and you start running about frantically looking for the treasure like a cross between a crazed metal detector with a mind of its own and someone having a seizure.
I know that I over-hyped this game in the chipmunk playground I like to call my mind. But at the same time my body says that I did enjoy the game (completed in about eight hours). I just don’t want to play the same stuff all over. Rather than five different kinds of difficulty (with this game’s blatant and unforgiving rehashing of old levels that’s more repetition than an internet meme – ah fuck, I can’t believe I’ve said this) I would have much preferred a couple of difficulty settings (harder than what I played) that would require me to replay older levels to gain more orbs/souls in order to beef myself up and do better in the levels that lay ahead. As I recall I had to grind a little just so I could barely stand a chance in the old DMC games.
But that’s just me and people who like grinding are practically degenerates. (fired – Ed)